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IPC advocates inclusive reportage in electoral governance issues

 

… trains Journalists on Women and PWDs representation

By Chukwuma Umeorah

The International Press Centre (IPC), as part of effort to enhance the quality and inclusivity of media coverage in electoral governance, has organized a virtual workshop for reporters and correspondents. The training also emphasized the importance of fair representation of women and persons with disabilities (PWDs) in political reporting.

IPC, as the lead partner in the European Union Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria (EUSDGN II) project, arranged the virtual engagement on Wednesday, which is part of the activities under Component 4 (Support to Media) of the EUSDGN II project. The training aims to deepen inclusive reporting of electoral and democratic governance issues by strengthening journalists and the media for fair, accurate, ethical, and inclusive reporting.

One of the facilitators, Prof. Jide Jimoh from the Department of Journalism, School of Communication, Lagos State University (LASU), delivered a lead presentation on ‘The Imperatives of Mainstreaming Women, Youths, and Disability Groups in Democratic Reporting’ and discussed findings from the 2023 general elections. He identified some loopholes in media reportage, including excessive focus on major political parties, disparity in gender, and underrepresented groups, particularly PWDs.

“Out of the 860 stories monitored in the print media, inclusive issues relating to youths, women, and PWDs featured in only 13 stories, representing 1.5 percent of total relevant stories.”

Jimoh stressed that the media has a profound influence on public opinion, and it is essential that our journalists are equipped with the knowledge and skills to cover elections in a manner that reflects the diversity of our society.

He recommended more media focus on the powerless and the poor who are invisible and unheard. “We would like to hear more stories from our women and those in the rural areas. We need the media to challenge stereotypes and find fresh, human angles.”

Corroborating his thoughts, The European Project Coordinator, Nigerian Women Trust Fund, Vanessa Gregory said, “The media should provide in-depth analysis of politics and legislation related to gender equality, reporting on issues such as women’s rights, and all the laws impacting women participation in politics, not just at the national level but at the local and grassroots levels.”

She added the importance of featuring positive stories of women in politics alongside the challenges they face, providing a balanced approach. “We also need to adopt languages that promote diverse representation of both men and women in political discourse. Factors such as ethnicity, socio-economic status, and regional differences all have to be considered so that we have a comprehensive narrative. The media should also invest in building relationships with various women organizations and networks as it is essential to providing valuable insights and access to perspectives on key and various issues affecting women in politics.” She finalized stressing that mainstreaming woman in democratic reporting was not just a necessity but a responsibility in shaping a more equitable and informed democratic landscape.

Executive Director, TAF Africa, Jake Ekpelle underscored the importance of inclusivity and its role in ensuring the equitable distribution of the dividends of democracy.

Ekpelle, an advocate for the rights of PWDs and other marginalized groups, also declared the readiness of the community to deepen relationships with the media and to lend their voices for national development.

 

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